Draft code eases rule for bloggers

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-23 06:50

The government looks set to back down from its long-held intention of imposing real-name registration for the country's 20 million bloggers following protests from the industry.

In a draft self-discipline code for blog services published by the Internet Society of China (ISC) yesterday, real-name registration is only to be "encouraged" instead of being made compulsory.

Government departments have been promoting a real-name system for years, arguing it will force Internet users to watch their words and actions, and refrain from slander, pornography and dissemination of other "harmful" information.

But the proposal triggered protests from the Internet industry and the growing number of Internet users.

The ISC, with the backing of the Ministry of Information Industry, is trying to rally industry players to support the self-discipline code for the promotion of a less rigorous real-name system.

According to the draft, an author's real name is not compulsory for opening a blog, but
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bloggers are encouraged to register their real names and information with service providers.

Those who voluntarily register their real names may choose not to use them, or they can use pseudonyms in blog articles. Blog service providers must ensure security and confidentiality of information that bloggers provide, the draft code said.

The code, published on the Internet to solicit public opinion, is drafted by a research group within the ISC.

It is made up of blog providers and industry experts, which was set up in October last year, to discuss issues on the development and regulations of the industry.

It aims to set out the obligations of both blog service providers and bloggers through self-discipline, to improve the services of providers and standardize their businesses, as well as remind blog users of their social responsibilities.

China has more than 20 million registered blogs, which most bloggers consider an essential medium of expression, but government officials have raised concerns over the spread of "unhealthy" information in some blogs.

China Daily

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